Riot Police in Ukraine Move in Against Protest Camp

Photo Credit: Fox News By Fox News.

Ukranian riot police armed with stun grenades and water cannons moved in against a protest camp in Kiev’s center Tuesday night as defiant crowds shouted “Glory to Ukraine” while their tents were engulfed in flames around them.

At least 18, including seven police officers and 11 protesters, were reported dead in the violence by early Wednesday morning, with hundreds more injured, the Associated Press reported.

Thousands of protesters had filled Independence Square just hours before, sensing that Ukraine’s political standoff was reaching a critical turning point after the deadliest violence yet in nearly three months of protests that have paralyzed the capital and the nation.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the protesters to defend the camp.

“We will not go anywhere from here,” Klitschko told the crowd, speaking from a stage in the square as fires burned around him, releasing huge plumes of smoke into the night sky. “This is an island of freedom and we will defend it,” he said.

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Photo Credit: Reuters Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp

Police are storming the main protest camp in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, which has been occupied since November.

Explosions are taking place, fireworks are being thrown and large fires have broken out in Independence Square.

On Tuesday at least 18 people were killed, including seven policemen, in the worst violence seen in weeks.

President Viktor Yanukovych blamed the violence on opposition leaders, but said it was still “not too late to stop the conflict”.

He was speaking after a late-night meeting with opposition figures Vitaly Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

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Photo Credit: WNDReagan official: Obama should support Ukraine Protesters

By Greg Corombos.

Recent Ukrainian unrest reached its deadliest levels yet Tuesday, as protesters and police officers were killed, fires raged in Kiev and a nation divided moved closer to a national tipping point.

Ukraine is closely divided between Russian-speaking residents largely loyal to Moscow and native-speaking western Ukraine, which identified with Europe and largely despises Russia for its decades of control during the days of the USSR.

The latest volatility stems from Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejecting an opportunity to establish closer economic ties with the European Union and subsequently accepting bailout assistance from Russia. Protests that followed were met with new laws restricting protest rights and even a ban on citizens wearing helmets.

Former Reagan administration Pentagon official Frank Gaffney told Radio America the people have very good reasons to be in the streets.

“There’s obvious frustration on the part of the people of Ukraine with their government, with the policies it’s been pursuing, particularly to the degree to which it is acceding to what can only be described as domination by Russia. I think there’s also a growing restiveness about the growing repression at home and the corruption of their government,” Gaffney said.

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